Excellent machine, great service, a very satisfying experience. Chris' Coffee Service is #1.
Positive Product Points
Recently my wife purchased an Isomac Millennium and a Mazzer Mini grinder for my birthday. The purchase was made at Chris' Coffee Service (with emphasis on Service). Having owned a Gaggia since 1986, it was time to move up. There were so many choices available that we needed expert assistance. Coffeegeek.com indicated that Chris Nachtrieb (Chris' Coffee Service) was quite knowledgeable and willing to help. We would soon find that the dealing with Chris was to be the most refreshing and satisfying purchasing event in living memory. Chris walked my wife through the available choices and as well, taking into consideration the many years of Gaggia ownership, it was determined that the Isomac Millennium stainless steel espresso machine would be the ideal one for me. Chris offered all this assistance without knowing whether or not we would make the purchase from him. Along with the Isomac, my wife ordered a Mazzer Mini grinder and a rosewood-handled tamper. At Chris' suggestion we also purchased two pounds of Camardo Extra Bar beans.
Negative Product Points
There are no real negative points that I can see. Having used a completely different machine (Gaggia) for many years I had to get used to pulling shots in a different manner. Not a negative issue but rather a relearning issue.
I must say that using my Gaggia, I had some successes at pulling decent shots as well as some shots that were downright awful. With the Isomac Millennium and the Camardo beans, I have never experienced such consistency of quality in the many shots I have since pulled. I had received my Isomac a few days prior to my birthday party where we were expecting 15 guests. During that evening I learned what it was like to be a barista in a commercial environment. With the Isomac, I was able to pull shots and at the same time steam the milk to a lovely thick froth at 140 degrees. There was at no time any difficulty. The Mazzer Mini produced perfectly ground coffee and the Isomac kept up with the water and steam demands.
I cannot adequately describe the technical elements that make the Isomac Millennium such a superb product but I can attest to its quality and performance which keep it in constant use throughout the day. The steaming wand, while on the left of the machine, does swing out to the side. A similar wand on the right provides hot water. The machine is easily back-flushed by inserting a blank into the portafilter. The Isomac has a large drip tray that is more than adequate. Having had this machine for about two months now, I have not yet found any significantly negative features that affect its operation or the ease with which I can use it. Because I turn it on first thing in the morning and leave it on all day, it does ensure that I am drinking more espresso during the day than ever before. With the Gaggia, I used to have to haul it out and perform a setup that tended to discourage use throughout the day. The Isomac holds enough water in its reservoir to last for two days, although I do empty it each day.
For those people who have had a small machine not in the same category as the Isomac Millennium, they should not hesitate to purchase it, as they will easily learn how to use it. The same can be said for anyone who has never pulled a shot. There are two reasons for this. The first one is that the Isomac Millennium is a superbly engineered machine, not just another pretty face and the second is that each Isomac Millennium comes complete with Chris Nachtrieb and his phone number and e-mail address. Chris answered my e-mail with a phone call as soon as he received the mail. A phone call to Chris is returned as soon as he gets the message. Thinking that Chris had a small business which allowed him to be so efficient, what a surprise it was to find that Chris' Coffee Service is a large operation in a 20,000 square foot establishment. Chris Nachtrieb should be cloned. Not only were his phone calls informative and friendly, he even sent me e-mail to tell me when he was going to Florida and that if I needed him to just contact him by e-mail him as he would be checking his mail daily.
In closing, I have to say that I have never experienced a more satisfying purchase. I have spent significantly larger sums on purchases that had not a speck of service along with them. Chris Nachtrieb is indeed a businessman who understands his product and knows his customer and he is able to anticipate the issues before they occur. He unselfishly devotes himself to his customers and is not happy until the customer is happy.
Excellent buying experience. It is very satisfying to make this kind of purchase and have everything work as advertised. This is due in large part to having made my purchase from Chris' Coffee Service.
Three Month Followup
Three month review just fine. Chris has supplied all the Isomac users with a new tip which makes microfoam you can walk on. At first I wasn't sure about the milk changing but it turns out it was the milk at fault. So I still agree that my purchase of an Isomac Millenium from Chris was the best damn thing I ever bought. No issues, just good coffee.
One Year Followup
Still going strong. Unit runs from 5:30 am to around 5 pm seven days a week. Have sent unit back to Chris's on two occasions. Each time it was minor with problem pointing really at me for not cleaning unit more often. Roger at Chris's took care of my machine each time. Service is everything folks. I never worry about it.